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It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Just Good Night

Freed was charged with inciting riotsTypical anti-rock headline

Rockabilly Hall of Fame site

The Payola Scandal is usually thought of as the event which started legendary DJ and rock promoter Alan Freed on his long, tragic downslide. Fact is, the 1959 Congressional Hearings had even more far-reaching effects, changing the way record companies and radio stations did business with each other (but not, it should be noted, stopping the practice of payola, which continues in various forms to the present day).

The scandal touched recording artists like Bobby Darin and Les Paul, other DJs, most notably Dick Clark and Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg, and the presidents of several of the country’s larger radio stations. Over time, many have claimed the investigation came about in order to assuage the public’s fears about rock and roll and its failed legitimacy as a musical form. Whatever you think after reviewing the evidence, remember that while Alan Freed is gone, most of the people affected by the scandal survived and even grew in stature. Much like the music itself.

  • Red Hot N’ RockinThe cleanest and most straightforward version of what happened; explains how the scandals fit in to the era’s general persecution of rock and roll.
  • The History of Rock N’ RollAlso defends rock’s place in the scandal, while offering some vital stats.
  • TheBoston Rock & Roll Museum An excellent, even poetic, timeline that traces the scandal and its tragic aftermath overa three-year run.
  • This site is just a clearinghouse for stock footage, but they have clips on the scandal, and there are some brief courtroom transcripts here.
  • The British Film InstituteAt the end of this interview, legendary rock songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller discuss how payola may have made radio worse, not better.
  • the Beatles’ rise to fame take a little longer than it should have because of the scandal? An interesting theory from saki.
  • Offbeat MagazineHere, Rockabilly legend Ronnie Dawson talks about why the scandal may have been a blessing in disguise for his career.
  • The History ChannelIn this audio clip, Alan Freed gives what would be his final goodbye to his audience.

September 18, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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